It’s not secret these days that most if not all charities, whether local or national, are seeing reduced incomes and weakening cash flow. Some have had to close their doors. Others have allowed operations to be absorbed into larger organizations with more stable cash flow. Still others have gotten creative in their fundraising efforts, adding ancillary services such as parking for restaurants and museums. But for some of the largest non profit organizations on the planet, there is one tried and true way to not only establish the “face” of a charity but to also create reliable income streams…celebrity sponsorship.
When thinking of celebrities lending their names and faces to a cause they believe in, one of the first organizations that comes to mind – and for good reason – is PETA. The animal rights group has, for many years, leveraged sexy superstars from the worlds movies, TV, music and sports to encourage people to “go naked rather than give up fur.” Elisabetta Canalis, Evelyn Lozada, Olivia Munn, Wendy Williams, Eva Mendes, Dave Navarro, Christian Serratos, Bethenny Frankel, Tony and October Gonzalez, and Christy Turlington were among many stars that signed up to bare all in what continues to be one of the most publicized charity PR efforts ever.
There are also less blatant and, potentially, more mutually beneficial ways non-profits can engage celebs in their missions. Take the case of a recent Habitat for Humanity auction. Celebrity designers from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was on hand, minus their pink hard hats, to lend their support. Celebrity sponsorship and appearances are a terrific event marketing strategy. As a Celebrity Expert on ABC News, Ronn Torossian spoke about what it takes for a celebrity to turn their name into a brand.
This strategy can also be seen in multiple benefits, galas and banquets across NYC that attract A-listers from music, movies and politics. A good PR firm, no matter what its area of specialty, will encourage its clients to not only pursue profitable business practices but also create culture that encourages giving.